To blow or not to blow...

2010-06-22 07:37
George Dearnaley

It’s not the easiest job in the world, and seriously, would you be a referee? But once you choose to take charge of the game, once you choose to get your lips around the whistle, once you choose to make the decisions that affect the lives of the world’s best footballers, then you had better get your decisions right.

Sadly, there are more footballers that are cheats than there are referees. The Ivorian Keita that got Kaka sent off and the Chilean player that got Behrami of Switzerland sent off – these are the real cheats of international football, but these incidents are one-offs and happen infrequently. It’s really the other many minor and few major incidents that happen that the referees are getting wrong that begs the question, ‘Where do they get these referees?’

The truth is that this is a World Cup, and so the referees are selected from all areas across the world. The problem with this is that a referee that has been covering the local matches in Honduras is suddenly in charge of a football match played at a level that he has never been exposed to and he can’t cope. It’s like asking an amateur to suddenly play in defense for a professional team – mostly they can’t handle the change in pace and in quality.

I feel the refs are being conned by a lot of the world’s best pros – and sadly, I mean cheats. The diving, the faking injury, the grabbing the face when you’ve hardly been touched – these are all things that are almost impossible to pick up in real time, it’s only when you’re sitting in the pub watching the TV replays that it’s so obvious. But a ref who has been exposed to football at the highest level will find it easier to read the signs, to see what’s going on and to make the right decision without being too hasty – sadly, this is not true of refs who have not done the business at the highest level. They fall for the same tricks.

How many ‘grabbing the face’ injuries have we seen? Show me the blood mate! No blood, no foul. Next. How many ‘falling over when an opponent gets next to me’ fouls have we seen? Come on, you guys are giving us footballers a bad name – we’ve got rugby fans laughing at us. Stay on your feet and play the game. Football is a physical game and it should be played with some body contact, not this ‘fall over if he’s near me’ stuff. 

So, are the refs bad, or are the players better cheats than the previous generation? Players will get away with as much as they think they can! Any ref who stamps his authority on the match in the first few minutes will not have to deal with as many fake injuries and fake fouls as a ref who shows that he hasn’t a clue in the first few minutes. Sadly, there are too many refs in this tournament who have failed to mark their authority early enough, and are falling short of the mark as a result.

George Dearnaley played for Bafana in 1992/93 and was top goal scorer in SA in 1992. He is loving the World Cup but hates players who fake being injured to get other players sent off. He also thinks half the referees are rubbish. His money is on Argentina!

George Dearnaley will be writing exclusively for Sport24 for the duration of the Soccer World Cup.

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